Scissor Doors: History & Facts

scissor doors

While the design and style of car doors may be normally overlooked, they have become a rather defining element for luxury cars. Some types of car doors have, in fact, become a signature for automotive brands. This includes scissor doors, also known as jack-knife doors, beetle-wing doors, switchblade doors or Lamborghini doors. These are named so since the doors are fixed on the front hinge and rotate vertically rather than outwardly, the counterclockwise movement much like the blades of a scissor. While aesthetically appealing, these unique doors are also used for a more practical reason. 

Turborevs gives a detailed overview of scissor doors below. 


History of Scissor Doors


scissor doors on 1968 Alfa Romeo Carabo


The very first vehicle to feature scissor doors was the 1968 Alfa Romeo Carabo, designed by Gruppo Bertone’s notable Italian car designer, Marcello Gandini. Although he was well-known for adding a touch of flair to his cars, the idea for these doors came about to serve a functional need. The Carabo had limited rearward visibility; a driver literally had to open the door to lean out and check where they were going in reverse. Hence, Gandini invented these for their ease. 

Although the Carabo was only a concept car, Lamborghini got highly interested in the scissor doors’ design, especially since it seemed like a solution to some impracticalities faced in its cars. For one, they are usually quite low to the ground, which makes it difficult to open the door without bumping it into a curb. Secondly, Lamborghinis in the 1960s were relatively wider than other cars, because of which drivers had little space to park and open the door. Scissor doors, however, effectively addressed both these issues. 

The 1974 Lamborghini Countach, also designed by Gandini, was the first production car to have these doors. They also appeared in the Diablo, the Countach’s successor, and then the Murciélago, its replacement, and later in the limited-edition Reventón. The newer Aventador is the latest model to feature them.

Nearly every model of the Lamborghini today has scissor doors. The style has become so synonymous with the brand that they are now often referred to as ‘Lambo doors’.

Even Ferrari borrowed the design for its Enzo model, and it is regularly used in other low-production specialty cars. 


Pros of Scissor Doors

  • You can squeeze your car into tight parking spaces. 
  • You can operate the car with an open door if needed, which would otherwise be impractical or difficult in the case of conventional cars. 
  • They reduce the risk of ‘dooring’ accidents for cyclists. 
  • Switching from traditional car doors to scissor doors is not as difficult as you may think, as the hinges are placed in a similar location on the front, and modifications to fender and door panels are not required in most cases. 


Cons of Scissor Doors

  • Parking can be difficult in areas with low ceilings. In fact, they can get damaged if they scrape against the surface when being opened. 
  • They still impede entry and exit to a large extent. 
  • In the event of a vehicle rollover, emergency exit would be much harder (if not impossible) as compared to other door types. 
  • Despite easy installation, the manufacture cost of the door hinge can be higher than that of a conventional door. 


In a Nutshell


scissor doors on Lamborghini


While definitely a striking feature in any type of car, scissor doors can also provide you a number of benefits. 

If you are not looking to change your doors, you can also upgrade the look of your vehicle with simple modifications to its lighting or body.  

One thought on “Scissor Doors: History & Facts

  1. Patrick says:

    Actually the first car that ever featured vertical doors was in 1963 built by Gene winfeild on his car called the reactor! I know this cause it’s currently in my garage!

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